David is probably rolling his eyes at the very title of this blog post! However, becoming debt free is by far the biggest change in our marriage this year, and to not talk about it seems weird.
When I left my job earlier this year, David and I took a long hard look at our situation to ensure that financially we could afford to take a hit for a few months while I build a business. It seemed possible and, therefore, I made the leap. But during our digging we started paying closer attention to where our money was going, and we weren’t happy about it.
When the comfort of a steady paycheck is taken away, it wakes you up a bit. Finances, like anything in life, can become passive. Everything is on autopilot nowadays – direct deposit into your account, paper-free auto-withdrawals to pay bills, you never actually see the money. It can be convenient, but it can also cause bad habits.
Around the same time, I was reading a book by Rachel Hollis. She wrote a bit about getting debt free and quoted this guy named Dave Ramsey. I honestly didn’t give it a second listen at first because being debt free wasn’t even an idea that I thought was possible let alone something we could achieve.
But as you start taking control of one part of your life, a funny thing happens – you start wanting to take control of all parts of your life. I started getting intentional about setting goals. One day, I sat down and wrote out where I saw our lives five and ten years from now. Among other things, I saw us being business owners, investing in real estate to flip, and eventually putting our children through college with money we’ve saved. I had always said that I didn’t want Finn and Reese to have the weight of student loans when they graduated, but I also joked that I’d still be paying off my college by the time they went to school.
It dawned on me that many of my five, ten, twenty year goals required financial freedom. So one day on my walk I turned on Dave Ramsey’s podcast and realized that within two years, David and I could be completely free from debt.
When I brought this idea back to my husband, he thought I was crazy – and he still does. However, when I told him why I wanted to get rid of our debt, he started to see the bigger picture. He listened to a few of the podcasts and started to realize that it was possible as long as we started to pay attention.
I called my mom later that day and asked her to buy us Financial Peace University as an early anniversary gift. Much to David’s chagrin, we sat down that night at watched the lesson on budgeting and then about getting debt free. Afterwards, David got up, grabbed our credit cards and cut them in half. That night we were able to pay off two of our smallest debts with money we had in savings. It was game on.
We’ve been working this plan for about three months now. The first two months we sucked at budgeting! This month, our primary focus is to stay on budget with the idea being that we know where every single dollar is going each month, and anything extra goes to pay off debt. As I mentioned earlier, with today’s calculations, we will be debt free in two years!
I don’t know if I’m comfortable talking about how much debt we have at this point, simply because there’s a lot of shame associated with it. I know when the day comes that we pay it all off, I will gladly share how much debt we no longer have. At this point, we are fairly “normal” – car payments, credit cards and student loans. We will have both cars paid off before the end of the year!
By focusing on our finances, David and I have had to have a lot of tough conversations. We also know there will be a lot of sacrifice in the coming years, but by the time Finn goes to kindergarten our lives will look dramatically different!
I will be sharing more of our #DebtFreeJourney over the coming months. I’ve learned so much about finances, investing, and budgeting. However the biggest thing for us is the why! When we see our future it’s full of fun vacations and great experiences! We are willing to sacrifice now for all of that down the road.